ACLS Humanities E-Book


Quite often as I read fiction I will come across mention of historical events.  Sometimes I am given enough information to satisfy me and sometimes I want more information.  I also think some of the subjects I come across would make great subjects for research papers.

I have wanted to know more about the Crystal Palace for some time.  I had enough information to know it was a major event in London in the mid 1800’s and that technology was involved.  I know… I can do a google search and come up with all kinds of information, but I wondered if I could search Crystal Palace in the ACLS Humanities E-Book collection and get results for a book that could be cited in a paper.  So my first result when searching ACLC for Crystal Palace was a book titled “The Shows of London” by Richard Daniel Altick.  Crystal Palace was mentioned in the table of contents and led to a chapter on my topic.  The official name of the exhibit in the Crystal Palace turned out to be The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations.  The second result, Technology in Western Civilization, by Kranzberg & Purcell didn’t list Crystal Palace in the table of contents, but it was listed in the index.  I was interested in the technology at the Crystal Palace, but I was also fascinated by the building itself.  I wouldn’t have thought a building could be made of 22 acres of glass in 1851.  I have to admit I am now wondering if they had to pay the glass tax.  Or was that the window tax?

I can’t guarantee you will have the results I had when you do your own search.  However, this is a resource worth investigating. image from Library of Congress


Historical Kansas Digital Collection

ImageA digital collection has been online for about 6 months with some materials within the Historical Kansas Collection; the rest of the materials are now online and the collection is complete. Dr. Tim Johnson, a collector of books, letters, stamps, and other items that pertain to Kansas history, donated some of his document collection to the Special Collections Room in 2011.

The collection, which contains letters, programs, and envelopes, has been scanned and digitized. The images are available for viewing online at the following URL:

The Bowen Collection is among the items within the Historical Kansas Collection. There are letters and other items written during the Civil War, including an appointment of Thomas Bowen to Colonel which is signed by Edwin M. Stanton, the Secretary of War. The following biographical information on Thomas Mead Bowen is from the Biographical Dictionary of the United States Congress:

BOWEN, Thomas Mead, a Senator from Colorado; born near the present site of Burlington, Iowa, October 26, 1835; attended the public schools and the academy at Mount Pleasant, Iowa; studied law; admitted to the bar in 1853 and practiced; moved to Wayne County, Iowa, in 1856; member, Iowa house of representatives 1856; moved to Kansas in 1858; during the Civil War served in the Union Army 1861-1865, as captain, then as a colonel; brevetted brigadier general; located in Arkansas after the war; member and president of the constitutional convention of Arkansas 1866; justice of the supreme court of Arkansas 1867-1871; appointed Governor of Idaho Territory by President Ulysses Grant in 1871; resigned and returned to Arkansas; moved to Colorado in 1875 and resumed the practice of law; upon the organization of the State government was elected judge of the fourth judicial district 1876-1880; member, State house of representatives 1882; resigned, having been elected as a Republican to the United States Senate, and served from March 4, 1883, to March 3, 1889; chairman, Committee on Mining (Forty-eighth Congress), Committee on Enrolled Bills (Forty-ninth and Fiftieth Congresses); engaged in mining in Colorado, with residence in Pueblo, Colo., where he died December 30, 1906; interment in Roselawn Cemetery.

There are letters that describe life in the middle to late 1800’s and into the early 1900’s. The letter writers often wrote about their crops and animals, their families, church-related items, and school. Be sure to check out the cancellation stamps on the envelopes, as some of those are towns that no longer exist.

Thank you to Dr. Tim Johnson for his donation of this wonderful collection, and we hope that you will enjoy browsing through it.